This transcript was taken from the Stand in the Gap Today program originally aired on 12/3/19. To listen to the program, please click HERE.
Sam Rohrer: Well, 49 Tuesdays from today, you know what that’s going to be? That’s November 3rd, 2020 and what is that day? Well, that happens to be the general election, where once again, we, the citizens of this nation will be in one hand forced to choose who was best prepared to lead this nation in the civil authority perspective, and from state legislatures to the President of the United States. We as citizens will not only be forced to choose how to vote, but on the other hand we also have the opportunity and the freedom and the duty to choose for whom to vote. The question is, how’s America going to choose? How will those who call themselves Christians, you perhaps, choose? And how will you personally, regardless of how you refer to yourself, how are you going to choose what?
Just three weeks ago here on stand in the gap, today we launched across America, the 52 Tuesday Prayer Initiative is what we’re referring to it using the 2020 election to help remind each of us who fear God, who love our country and value our freedom. We asked all of you to join with us and a growing a group of citizens and pastors and churches and other prayer efforts, to pray for ourselves, yes. Pray for our nation, certainly. And yes, absolutely pray for our leaders as we’re commanded to do. Our goal, 10,000 identified and prepared praying, prayer warriors to join the growing army of people who will know how to access the God of heaven and lead the way through repentance to revival.
So will you join us? I’ll put it out here right now. Go to the Americanpastorsnetwork.net website, Americanpastorsnetwork.net, and there you can sign up to stand with us. Do that so we can communicate to you about things that are happening, and join with others across the nation to do so.
Well because of the serious condition of our nation, and God’s I believe, clear warnings to us for a long time, the importance of prayer and how we do it and what God requires cannot be overstated. So today we’re going to devote this Tuesday as we are most all future Tuesdays, to some aspect of prayer for our nation. And today on the program, I’m glad to welcome a very special guest and good friend to the Stand In The Gap audience, historian, author, speaker, and founder and president of WallBuilders David Barton. And our theme for today is this, When Leaders Pray.
With that I welcome you to the program. I’m Sam Rohrer, and with that I want to welcome you, David Barton to our program today. Thanks for making time out of your busy schedule to be with us.
David Barton: Sam, great to be with you, always great to be with you. We appreciate what you do.
Sam Rohrer: And I appreciate what you do and what WallBuilders has done for America, and I mean that very sincerely because it has been significant. I think we’ll only know when we get to heaven, just exactly how much. But David, every person listening to us right now across American on over 425 radio stations, besides those that would be on the internet, we sense in our hearts that we’re in trouble as a nation. And perhaps the greatest question I hear often from many and my own self is, why aren’t there more people in positions of authority be they elected office or the pulpits who you would think they would be there, but why aren’t they doing more and saying more to recognize the problem and really seek to get it fixed?
So from your perspective, David, as a historian and all that you’ve done, as you look across America right now at our needs, what do you think would be the most serious issue that’s facing us that justifies serious prayer?
David Barton: You know, the one thing I’ve learned over all the years in dealing with literally thousands of elected officials, state legislators, governors, local, elected, up through presidents, the one thing I’ve seen is that what you have is the elected people are nothing more than citizens who got elected. They may speak a little better, they may communicate a vision better, but they are citizens. We just finished a poll on what Americans know about the constitution, government history, and we also in this poll included legislators. First poll done like this in the modern generation, and again, we find out that legislators know what average people know. So if we’re looking at legislators and saying, “Why aren’t these guys doing more?” That just makes it a point to me that we’re saying to ourselves, why aren’t average people doing more? Why aren’t more people sounding off?
In our case, we spent a lot of time looking at churches, working with George Barna particularly, and what we know right now is 384,000 senior pastors, senior church pastors in America, 72% of those pastors say they do not believe the Bible, do not believe its basic fundamental teachings. So my first question is, why is the church being so solemn on this? And then when we look further at the 28% of pastors who do believe the Bible, 90% of those pastors who said, “Well, I can’t address issues in the culture because that would make me political.” So we’re looking at only 2.8% of pastors that are willing to address what’s going on in the culture, if it also is addressed in the Bible. Well that kind of looks like the political arena right now. We’re saying, why don’t political guys talk out? Hey, why don’t pastors and Christians talk out?
Sam Rohrer: David, I think you’re right on the money right there and I find the same thing, having been an office myself, and that’s exactly … I just got off the phone this morning with a good friend in the Pennsylvania legislature, we’re talking about the very same thing. Matter of fact, this individual told me that her senior pastor and the assistant pastor at her church, an Evangelical Bible believing Church, she knows for a fact they have told her, they haven’t even read the Bible through, completely anytime in their life. Boy, oh boy, oh boy.
David, from a historical perspective, we’re at a serious time now, but we’ve been at serious times before in our nation, where perhaps our nation was threatened. The Civil War would be a time that most people would cite, but could you identify and rank a couple of times that our nation’s history where perhaps the need was similar to or however you want to say it compared to where we are right now?
David Barton: Well, there’s been several times. In colonial times for sure, when you get into King Philip’s War, it looked like every colonist was going to be exterminated, and that full colony region up in New England. As you moved into King George’s War, the same thing, America had no defense. The entire French Fleet was coming to wipe out America. When you get to the American Revolution, once again, we were about to lose our lifestyle or way of life. You move past The Revolution and the French Quasi-War, we’ve had so many times where our entire system was at stake, our culture was at stake, what we believe as Christians was at stake, and we’ve seen it a number of times.
Civil War certainly is one of those recent times, but I would say that we’re in the middle of a cold civil war right now, that’s the same thing. We’re more polarized than we’ve been at any point since 1856, there’s more division. We used to talk about swing voters, the elections have the swing voters were key, because Republican Democrats about equal, but not the swing. Well the swing has gone from 28% of voters down to only 9% of voters. There’s no longer swing voters because we’re polarized. So we’re at a point today where we have been several times in our history, but it’s a really crucial critical turning point, and if you don’t make the right decisions is that turning point, then you really suffer national consequences, you don’t want to suffer.
Sam Rohrer: Welcome back to Stand In The Gap. I’m Sam Rohrer and my special guest today is David Barton. He’s a historian, speaker, founder, president of WallBuilders and I am sure known well of most all of you who are listening to me right now. Our theme today is, When Leaders Pray, and we’re doing this as a part of our Tuesday commitment to our 52 Tuesdays Prayer Initiative that we launched several weeks ago. Then we’ll go all the way up through the end of next year, and each Tuesday we will try to deal with some specific aspect of prayer, how it applies to where we are, and how it can apply to you.
Well, throughout history, great nations have risen to power, we know it, excuse me. The Babylonian, the Egyptian, the Greek Roman Empires, they all rose and they all ultimately collapse, with only ruins marking their place in history. Perhaps only two nations, Israel of old and the United States have their beginnings unarguably linked to the Bible and to the God of the Bible.
And this is why the restoration of Israel in 1948 to this very day has been from a human perspective, almost totally dependent on key actions by the United States or by presidents or others in this nation. The symbiotic relationship between these two nations extends to our common Judeo-Christian view of truth, our view of truth and justice and law and ethics, free enterprise, private property and ethics generally and a whole host more. Well, so the question is within this relationship as we view it, how did national leaders in the days of the kingdom of Israel respond to God in times of national need? How did they approach God in these times? How did they define the problem as they view? How did they pray? Well, the next segment then after this one, we’re going to look at our history and our leaders here, so we’re going to again kind of compare contrast as we move forward.
David, let’s go here. Three prayers are in the Scripture, there are more than that, but there are three specific prayers by political leaders of Israel as they prayed for God’s mercy on their nations. Ezra did it in Ezra 9, Nehemiah did it in Nehemiah 9, and Daniel did it in Daniel 9. Now really they’re all quite similar in their approach, certainly in their positions they were, because of where they served in government. But for right now, I’d like to in the balance of the segment here, focus on Daniel’s prayer in Daniel 9. And David, as you read this prayer, now you’ve read it, probably spoken about it, preached on it, how did Daniel, first of all, how did he approach God? How did he approach God and how should that approach instruct us today as we begin to contemplate the need for prayer and how we approach it?
David Barton: You know, as you mentioned, those three leaders, it’s interesting, they all lived at the same time. They’re all in the same kingdom, they’ve all come out of Babylon, they’re all in the same generation, the same era. So they all have a similar mindset, which way you look at Ezra or Nehemiah or Daniel, you find very similar things in their prayers. So as you look at them, one of the things they do is, and I was always struck with Nehemiah, who’s been raised his whole life in captivity in Babylon, and when he gets back to Jerusalem and prays, he says, “I and my fathers have sinned against You.” Whoa, wait a minute. Nehemiah, you have it, you’re doing the right thing. Now your fathers have sinned, you bet, but what he did was he identified with the previous generations, because they had what we would call a covenant or type of view of God’s relationship with the nation.
They go back to Abraham or that Abraham covenant with God. God made the covenant. They had the animal sacrifice and Abraham walked along to be sacrificed, and so then when you come generations later to Moses, he stops in front of the mountain, he says, “All right, we had a covenant before. Now we’re going to renew that covenant. We’re going to follow what God said.” You got the mount of blessing, the mount of cursing, as a nation, you got to choose which way you’re going to go. You get to Joshua did the same thing as they’re going in the promised land. They keep going back to the covenant, to the covenant, to the covenant, to the covenant. So that’s the first thing I think that stands out, is you have to recognize that the forebears made a covenant with God, and it’s an if-then contract. If we do this, God will do this.
Now, God’s not contingent on us to do it, but He’s not going to keep blessing us if we don’t give Him something to work with. We can sing God bless America all day long, and that doesn’t mean He will. He needs us to give him something to work with, and that’s part of the covenant. If we will do the right things, God will give blessings and benefits. So you see that in all of those prayers, which is very significant for us. I just found even just a few weeks ago, I had no clue about this, but I knew … Now, let me say it differently.
I knew we were covenantal people. The pilgrims came and made a covenant with God for that land and they purchased that land from the Indians, but that was a dedicated land. It was to be the birthplace of freedom. And there’s a great map that came out in 1880 showing, here’s what came out of Jamestown, which did not have a covenant with God, here’s what just came out of Plymouth, which did. Out of Plymouth, came to free enterprise system, out of Jamestown came socialism. Out of Plymouth, came freedom and liberty, out of Jamestown came slavery, et cetera.
So the covenant thing was really clear, and in the 1630 the Puritans made a covenant, but I was really struck in 1665 when the colony of New Haven was created, that Reverend John Davenport gathered all the colonists together, and said, “Okay, are we going to do what God says? Are we going to make a covenant to follow His word?” And the people all in unison said, yes. They then founded the City of New Haven and they laid out the City of New Haven to look like the Bible Tabernacle and the new Jerusalem and the old Jerusalem. They laid it out with 12 areas around it, 12 if you will, blocks around it and said, “Here’s the square, this is God’s center and this town is laid out after the biblical example to remind us that we’re in a covenant with God.”
So having that background, it is Daniel, it is Nehemiah, it is Ezra who say, “Guys, remember the covenant. We’re not doing it. That’s why we’re in Babylon right now. That’s why, if we want to get out of Babylon, if we want Jerusalem rebuilt, if we want to be back with God, we’ve got to renew the covenant.” So as you look at the prayers, that’s why in Daniel 9 he says, “I and my people, we have sinned against God.” No Daniel, you haven’t sinned against God. You’ve been the one upright guy. You refuse to pray, you went to the line stand, you saw the handwriting on the wall. No he kept identifying with the national people and saying, “We’ve got to get the covenant back.”
And I think that’s one thing that stands out in all three of those biblical prayers is a recognition that for God to bless us, we have to go back to that covenantal thinking, and recognize that there’s things that we as a people have to do to reenergize the commitment we made to God 200 years, 300 years, 500 years, a thousand years ago. We got to get that covenant back.
Sam Rohrer: David, I think that’s a great point to make and I think it’s probably interesting to all of our listeners. I will, just for the sake of listeners right now, just make one application here. The covenant that David is talking about, which I think is very, very critically important for Israel. God went to Abraham in Israel and said, “I’m going to make a covenant with you.” And the only reason Israel is back in the
_____________________________________________________________________________________land right now, I’m saying ladies and gentlemen, 1948 is not because what they did, but because of what God covenanted to him, to them that they were going to do. Our nation though, as David was just saying, our leaders, those examples he gave, they actually said, “We saw how you work with Israel God. We want You to work with us the same way and so we make a covenant with You,” which means the connection to that covenant for us in America today is really, really critical.
David, if you look at Daniel’s aspect here, what he’s talking about, and you already did mention it, but he didn’t blame any of their troubles on societal conditions or inequalities in the law or racial divisions or any of that kind of stuff that we’re hearing today. But he said over and over again, “Because we have sinned against You,” he said, “We have sinned, committed iniquity, done wickedly, rebelled, departed from Thy precepts and from Thy judgments.”
David, how important is that, we as a nation and as leaders today, follow that pattern and being specific about our sins?
David Barton: Well, you will not find a solution or a cure until you identify the problem. So identifying the problem is, in any problem solving scenario, whether it’s in business, whether it’s in politics, anything, you have to correctly identify the problem. If you don’t identify the problem, military especially, if you don’t identify the genuine problem, you will create solutions that will not solve the problem because you didn’t correctly identify it. So in our case, this is one of the problems we have and we mentioned earlier in the first segment how so such a small segment of the church even knows God’s word, and you were talking about how evangelical pastors have never read through the Bible cover to cover, and that is so common. As a matter of fact, in a nation where 71% of citizens profess Christianity, only 14% of them read the Bible on a daily basis.
We don’t even know the contracts of the covenant. We don’t know what sin is. It’s very interesting that again, working so closely with George Barna, we’ve identified, George has pointed out very well that in more than 100 different moral behaviors that we study, that you can find no statistical difference between the behaviors of Christians and non-Christians in over a hundred categories. Matter of fact, you find that the highest divorce rate in America is among Born-Again Christians, it’s higher than non Born-Again Christians and it’s higher … The lowest divorce rate in America is among atheist, and that shouldn’t be. So we’re kind of like Daniel and we’ve got to identify the problem and the problem is us, it’s in the mirror. It’s not that God’s not blessing the country.
My goodness, we keep living a lifestyle, that is impossible for Him to bless, and that’s something we have to fix. And we can’t live the lifestyle if we don’t know what it is, and He told us what it is in His words, so we better get back in His word, and that includes pastors, but it also includes the citizens, and that’s what I liked so much about what Daniel is laying out here. He says, “Here’s all the bad stuff going on. This only gets solved when we turn back to Your ways and Your precepts and Your statutes,” and that’s what we have to do here as well.
Sam Rohrer: Ladies and gentlemen, Daniel prayed this, “I prayed unto the Lord my God, made my confession and said, Oh Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and the mercy to them that love Him,” and then he said, he concluded with, “O Lord, forgive, harken and do differ not for thy people sake.”
Ladies and gentlemen, that’s how we need. We, we, not you or they, we and we come to God on His term.
Sam Rohrer Welcome back to Stand in the Gap Today. I’m Sam Rohrer, special guest today, David Barton. If you’re just joining us right now, we’re in the middle of a really critical topic and that’s the topic of prayer. Our theme is, When Leaders Pray and the whole basis for this discussion is the fact that no matter who you are, no matter where I go anyways around this country, no matter who I talk to, everybody says something’s up, something’s wrong. There is a problem in our nation. It would be impossible for somebody to be half away and knowledgeable and not know that.
So the question is what do we do in times like this? Where do we go for help? Do we ignore it? I think as many are just ignoring it, assuming that they won’t just life’s going to go on like it is forever, not regarding history itself and certainly what God says, but we’re trying to look right now as we talk about our 52 Tuesdays Prayer Initiative going from a few weeks back all the way up through November the third of 2020, letting the fact that a Tuesday occurs every week, remind us of the election that’s coming up that will force every one of us to make a vote on a person. Shouldn’t we let that help to drive us to say, “Who have we made our vote for?” I mean, are we voting for biblical obedience? Are we voting for God first in our lives? We’re saying we’re better because we’re not. We’re not going to make the right selection of the people on the ads.
So in this last segment with David, we looked at the prayer of Daniel, a political leader, a governmental leader and how he went before God, identified the sins of his people, put himself among that number, even though he was not the one who caused the trouble. He put himself among that number and he implored the God of heaven on behalf of the sins of the people, that God would weigh in and be merciful and hear their prayers. Well, not only did civil leaders like Ezra, Nehemiah, and Daniel, we talked about, interceded for their nation Israel in times of need, civil leaders in our own nation have also done so in times of need. In large part, I would say they followed pretty remarkably the pattern of Ezra, Nehemiah and Daniel as they called out to the God of heaven and called this nation to prayer.
So in this segment we’re going to look at two examples and apply that to this. So David, let’s go to you in this point. I want to ask you, because on your website wallbuilders.com and people can go there, there’s a wealth of information, you have prayers of US leaders, many examples. I found two of them I want to look at here and ask your opinion on. John Adams was one, in 1798, issued a proclamation in which he started with these words, “As the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and the blessing of Almighty God,” and then he went forth and laid out his case. Share with us if you could a little bit about this proclamation, when it was issued again and why it was issued, and what did president John Adams, what was he seeking to do at that point in time?
David Barton: At the time that president Adams had issued this proclamation is a period of time in which America was exceptionally polarized. We were on the verge of war, it’s called the French Quasi-War, for all purposes, it was a war. French ships were attacking American ships and vice versa. Conflict was openly going on. There was no official declaration of war, but there was no question it was a war. The espionage, the spying, The Citizen Genêt Affair that was going on. At the same time, you have the rise of the two political parties, and probably no better way to show the polarization than to identify the two parties. John Adams was head of what was called the Federalist Party, and so they believed in a strong federal government constitution, but the other party was called the anti-Federalist party.
Now come on, can he come up with a better name than that? No, whatever you’re for or were against. So if you’re a Federalist or anti Federalist, and that was led by Thomas Jefferson. Shortly after this resulted in the most bitter political election in American history, the most polarized time as a nation, and you actually had colonies who were trying to secede as a result of the election, what was going on and where this led. So we’re in a time of intense conflict. We’re a very young nation, we do not have the benefit now of 232 years under a constitution. At that point in time, we’d been 11 years under a constitution. The average length of a constitution in the history of the world is only 17 years. So we’re a very young nation, we haven’t figured it out yet. We don’t have any kind of record of stability and we’re looking at a bunch of problems.
We’ve got internal conflicts with Federalists and anti-Federalists. We’ve got external conflicts, Great Britain and France are on our doorstep again, shooting our ships and blowing up stuff. It was a bad time. So this is when Adam says, “Okay, it’s our indispensable duty to humble ourselves before Him.” And their model goes back to 2 Chronicles 7, where Solomon in talking to God says, “Okay, if we come to this temple and if we humble ourselves and pray and seek Your face and turn from our wicked ways, then you will hear from heaven.” It’s part of the covenant, but it all starts with humbling and seeking Him. So that’s what Solomon laid out. That’s what America believed. That’s what John Adams did at this point. He said, “We got to humble ourselves before God. We got to seek His face. We’ve got to get back to doing what He tells us to do.”
By the way, these days of fasting, I mean try finding a governor today willing to call the people to a time of humiliation, fasting and prayer, and that’s the proclamation John Adams issued here in 1798, he issued, another one is 1799. He’s calling on the nation for a time of humiliation, fasting and prayer. So it’s getting serious, humbling ourselves, a time of fasting. Most Christians don’t fast, they do pray, but they don’t fast. It has been more than a century since we’ve had a national leader actually call us to a time of humiliation, fasting and prayer. But fasting and prayer was such an important part of American life that even in Upper New England to this day they have what’s called Patriot’s Day, that’s April the 15th. Most people don’t have a clue that that was the annual day of humiliation, fasting and prayer for all the colonies, all the States in New England.
So because we don’t fast and pray anymore today, we’ve now called it not the Annual Fast Day, we call it Patriot’s Day and we don’t even know what it stands for anymore, but John Adams is a great reflection of what we used to do, in humbling ourselves and seeking God and fasting and praying.
Sam Rohrer: David, I’m going to follow up with something after we get this next example in, but we cited it. Most people would probably say, “Well, a time of great need in this country,” they would probably go to the Civil War, probably were not aware of what you were talking about and certainly the other examples that you’ve already shared. But this president, President Lincoln, issued a proclamation, it was entitled, For A Day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer. Here again, same thing you were just talking about with John Adams. And this one was notable because the US Senate actually got involved in putting their stamp on it.
Talk to us a little bit about this proclamation from Abraham Lincoln, at that point in time, we’re at the Civil War. Note the similarities and differences perhaps in what Lincoln said as compared to what we talked a little bit ago with perhaps Daniel’s prayer in Daniel 9.
David Barton: You know what I like about Lincoln is he puts his finger right on what’s going on. Lincoln, perhaps more than any other president was spiritually attuned in a way that we’ve not seen, and just to give a little backstory on Lincoln. He grew up in a Christian family, but his father was abusive, and so his father would go to church in the morning and beat him in the afternoon and abuse him. So Lincoln says, “If that’s what a Christian is, I don’t want to be a Christian.” So he becomes the town atheist. And in becoming the town atheist, he so hates Christianity because of what he’s seen in his father, that he really memorized the Bible so he can argue against the Christians and show them how stupid they are.
It turns out, then in 1850s, a pastor James Smith kind of took him under arm and mentored him and said, “Yeah, I know you’ve had some tough times. Hey, think about this or what about this?” And so it just took an and just mentored him, and just asked him questions, and didn’t get in his face and didn’t say, “Man, are you bad for being an atheist,” which was a bad deal in those days, it’s pretty tolerated today. But Lincoln has a slow conversion, and really Gettysburg is where Lincoln told a clergyman that his heart was changed. He gave his heart to Jesus when he saw the graves at Gettysburg, and that’s right at the time of this proclamation. So this proclamation is just literally weeks before he gives his heart to the Lord at Gettysburg, and I like what he says in the first part of this proclamation. He says, “We’ve been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We’ve grown in numbers, wealth and powers no other nations ever grown.”
He’s exactly right. We’ve been the most powerful nation in the world at that point. He says, “But we’ve forgotten God. We’ve forgotten the gracious hand, which preserved us at peace and multiplied and enriched us in strictness. We vainly imagined with the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we’ve become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace.” And on he goes. I mean, he puts his finger on it.
We have such a tradition, such a rich heritage here, and we’ve been so blessed. We are the most prosperous nation, most stable nation in the world, et cetera, et cetera, and we think we did this. He does such a good job of saying, “No, we have forgotten God.” We’ve forgotten the God factor here, and he turns the heart of the nation back to God. This is a humiliation, fasting and prayer. It was widely observed across the nation. They shut down businesses on that day, so that people could focus the entire day on humbling themselves before God.
I will point out that after this proclamation of fasting and humiliation and prayer, the Union only lost two more major battles to the end of the Civil War. Up to this point, the Union had only won one major battle. The Confederacy had dominated the Union for three years. After this time of humiliation, fasting and prayer, the Union did not lose, but two battles for the rest of the duration. It was a turning point in our history, and I pointed this proclamation right here as restoring covenant, getting ahold of God again, getting the priorities right, giving God a chance to get the nation back where he wants it, end the evil of slavery, which ended as a result. So good stuff happened, but it took this day of humiliation, fast and prayer.
Sam Rohrer: Ladies and gentlemen, I hope that you are encouraged, informed and encouraged by what you hear. In times of need, national need, leaders, both be they in office or actually the citizen on the ground, we need to be turning to God.
As we move into our final segment of a very fast program. I’d like to encourage all of you who are listening, you will no doubt want to get a copy of this program. Listen to it again, go to our website, standinthegapradio.com. You can find it there or if you have our free app, Stand In The Gap is what you put in your search. If you’d haven’t already downloaded it, when you go to your store, just put it in the phrase, Stand In The Gap, and you can download and then you can listen to all of these programs. You can search by topic, you can search by prayer. We’re talking about prayer today as an example, and things will be there as we deal with this most important subject or a host of others. So I encourage you to do that.
Well, we started the program talking about, is this a time to pray? And basically we answered the question, David Barton, my guest tonight. We said, “Yeah, absolutely,” and I think most people in this country know it’s time to pray, if not in fact past a time to pray, but we’re in that window. Question is what do we do? We talked about and gave some examples of biblical prayer. History repeats itself, this is not the first time nation has been where we are. So what do we learn from Scripture? We talked about Ezra, Nehemiah, and focused on Daniel and all of those in chapter nine of the respective books, and how they interceded before God on behalf of the people, identified the sins. Very specific in what they identified, rebelling against God, forsaking his commandments, trusting in themselves, all of those things. Then we picked out just two examples of American political leaders, President John Adams and President Abraham Lincoln, both of them issuing proclamations at times of need in our country’s past history, encouraging the people to come before God in prayer and fasting and God heard.
Well, we want to conclude right now because you might say, “Well, I’m not a political leader and I’m not a leader from the Old Testament like a Daniel, Ezra or Nehemiah. Well, how should I approach prayer? And do I the average person, you and me, where do we fit in this picture before God?”
So David, let me go to you because we haven’t mentioned pastors either. So I’m going to put pastors as representing the people and citizens in this category. Can you share some examples, perhaps David in this country? Cite whatever would come to your mind here of when citizens and or pastors perhaps, but actually separate from the political leaders, stepped up, sensed the need to pray, prayed and God did something with it.
David Barton: Yeah, I would point to two examples that we’ve kind of alluded to. One is Ezra. Ezra is key, he’s instrumental in the story of rebuilding Jerusalem, getting the nation back to its foundations, getting God back around the city where He should have been. And it’s interesting that if you look at Nehemiah, he rebuilt the walls and was the governor and restored everything. You think about Nehemiah and you think Nehemiah is the hero of the book of Nehemiah, but he’s really not. Half the book goes to Ezra, six of the 13 chapters cover Ezra and Ezra is a pastor, you can say. He is a priest, he’s not a political leader, he doesn’t do political stuff. He is the priest, he’s the guy who reads the word of God to the people. He’s the guy who stands out in the rain for a fourth of a day and fast and humble himself before God and read the word.
So you look at what Ezra does, he’s your typical pastor, and if you want to get a nation turned around, say, “I’m going to be an Ezra. I’m going to do what he did. I’m going to call people to fast and pray, and I’m going to talk to them about the condition of the nation. I’m going to talk to him about what we need to do. I’m going to talk to him about the marriage laws and how that we have not honored God in our marriage. I’m going to talk to them about the economics and what we’re doing with interest and usury.” If you’ll look at what Ezra did, he was the pastor of the day. He was a priest, but that’s a pastor the day.
Then if you look at what Nehemiah did, Nehemiah became a governor, but at the time he started all of this, he was just a typical servant. He was the cup bearer to the King. He’s not a political leader in that sense, he’s associated with politics and he’s around it and he’s around political leaders, but he gets something burning in his heart that says, we got to fix this, and he becomes a political leader. So in many senses, your Nehemiah is like the average typical citizen who gets involved, and because they get involved, they find themselves in places they didn’t plan to be, but once they get there, they use that position to help get God back in the center of what happens?
So Ezra and Nehemiah are really two good examples of a pastor and a citizen who got active and actually did something and I think that’s a good model for us to follow today.
Sam Rohrer: It is indeed a good model, and lady and gentlemen, we try to close this program in prayer and David and I are going to do that right now. To be informed is important, that’s what we’re talking about. What does God say? What’s the Bible say? What did we learn from history? What did we learn from biblical history? And then we have to put it into application ourselves.
David Barton, thank you for being with us today. God bless you and WallBuilders and all that you’re doing and we’ll look forward to getting you back at some point in the next year.
David Barton: Great to be with you Sam, thanks for all you’re doing. God bless.